Denmark says mink coronavirus strain ‘most likely eradicated’


Greece announced last week it had culled minks on farms where the animals had tested positive.

"I regretted this earlier, I regret it again and take responsibility for this, especially I regret this to the many mink farmers who have been in a very unhappy situation", adding that "There has only been one goal: to stop the Covid-19 infection in and from mink because it poses a threat to public health".

According to the Department of Health, the continued farming of mink represents an ongoing risk of additional mink-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging.

Mink farming was due to be discontinued under the Programme for Government and the Department of Agriculture had planned to test mink on the country's three mink farms to see if the virus was present, but it's understood the call by the Chief Medical Officer has expedited this move. "There were no legal grounds to ask the farmers to cull their mink outside the infected zones", Jensen told the Danish wire agency Ritzau on Monday.

The variant strain was feared at one point to have reached Israel after COVID-19 cases were detected among Israelis returning from Denmark. There is no evidence that the mutated version is more unsafe but the government moved quickly out of safety, though it lacked the legal basis to order the killing of healthy animals too.

"I enjoyed this before, I repent it and accept accountability for this, particularly I repent this to the numerous mink farmers who've been in a really unhappy situation".

The Irish mink farms - some of which received government grants as recently as 2017 to support rural employment - earn €25 to €80 per pelt. While the political rivals have also sought the PM's resignation, Frederiksen defended his government's decision to eliminate the minks population.

There are three mink farms housing around 120,000 animals across Ireland.

It said this is available to view along with specific protocols for livestock farmers regarding TB testing and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 on the dedicated COVID hub of the Department website.

Mink, similar to ferrets, cats and dogs, are more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, posing a risk they could mutate the virus and return a variant to humans. It was the large mink reservoir of COVID-19.



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